Most of my poems are just a bit of fun. The ones people know of anyway – the ones I’ve come to recite on St Andrew’s or Burns’ nights. However, now and then I’ll write a poem just to get emotions and thoughts out of my head and down onto virtual paper. Doing so is a release of mental pressure and I’ve a folder full of “abandoned”, incomplete verses that have spilled out of my mind at various times but were too personal or painful to either complete or share.
One that hasn’t seen the light of day is If I Had Known, which I wrote in early November 2021. In the space of 18 months I’d dealt with the loss of various people from my life. I’m not going to name names but they were people who were special to me, people whose lives had been intertwined with my own for varying lengths of time. Yet for one reason or another, I’d lost them.
Emotional pain from a sense of loss is immediately jarring, like being startled by a sudden loud noise and only being able to escape the echoes when there’s distance from the source. In the poem, I tried to capture my feelings at the loudest point, so that I might be able to measure the change as the echoes fade over time.
That said, reading it back even four months on makes me wince a little. I’m still bruised from a couple of years of seemingly relentless emotional trauma, with the backdrop of the global covid-19 pandemic making life feel like a nightmare I’m only just now waking up from.
Writing this poem was like drawing a line in the sand from an emotional perspective. I had to acknowledge the hurt, tuck it safely in a folder and try to move on. For World Poetry Day 2022 I thought I’d take it out and publish it here instead of hiding it away. I’m not sure why. Perhaps as part of the healing process. I hope it resonates with someone else.
If I had known If I had known that within days, That we’d be done and parting ways? If I had known you’d say goodbye, That I’d feel a part of me had died? If I had known you’d soon be gone, That I’d be haunted by our songs? If I had the foresight to predict, The pain that fate would soon inflict? If I had known? This might seem strange; There isn't much that I would change. Because if I had known, all the same, That was our last walk in the rain? If I only could, I’d do it all again.